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Sparkling Words: Unveiling the Enchanting Realm of a
Girl’s Creative Mind
This girl is a former student, and I always enjoyed reading books with her. She had a great imagination and loved to read about flawed characters. She had mature and thoughtful insights, and it was a joy to discuss books with her. When we would do a reader’s theater read-aloud activity, she would read her part with great enthusiasm and a voice perfect for that character. Her creative mind was always working, and it was amazing to see her thoughts come to life.
I wrote about her in my book. A humorous catchphrase originated from our mutual involvement with food choices; you will have to read about that in my book. She was a young girl with autism, and she displayed some unique behaviors. Her parents gave me valuable insights into understanding and addressing those challenges. One thing I knew was that it was important to not let her get “hangry.”
Teaching middle school, I always knew we were in for a rocky ride when a child hit puberty. It is hard enough for a neurotypical child to navigate this strange mix of hormones and emotions and deal with other people who are experiencing the same perfect storm of elements. This was true for this girl, and as she tried to explain what she needed, it often fell on deaf ears, creating more chaos for her. She did not understand her emotions and actions, and it was difficult for others as well. I gave her the responsibility of telling a weekly knock-knock joke with another classmate for the school videotaped morning announcements. This was her time to shine and a way for us to connect.
Q: What is one thing you wish teachers know about your child that is not on the IEP?
A: She doesn’t know why she does things either. She’s just as frustrated with some of her behaviors as everyone else
Q: Scores on tests do not define the child. What is something your child is really good at that is not reflected on tests?
A: She’s got an amazing memory and is an awesome storyteller
Q: How important is homework for your child? Is it just a burden, or is it a helpful learning tool?
A: Not helpful. Home is where she can destress.
Q: How old was your child when you first knew he/she had special needs?
A: 3 or 4
Q: What is one piece of advice you have for someone who has a newly diagnosed child?
A: It’s a process. The diagnosis is just the first step of the journey. It doesn’t define your child, it just helps you understand them better. It is okay to grieve the life you thought they would have but know that they will land where they’re supposed to
Q: What is one meal that everyone in your family likes to eat?
Q: What advice do you have for interacting with children with special needs?
A: You are entering their world and that needs to be respected and honored. Find what interests them and ask questions!
Q: What activities do you recommend to other parents to foster self-care?
A: It’s hard but try to find your village. Find people that love your child and are willing to help. Find a community with other special needs parents
Q: Are there any support groups that you recommend for parents or children?
Q: What are your favorite family activities?
A: Trips to the zoo or petting farm, watching Masked Singer and Adventure Time, playing Mario Kart